Review: Princess Peach Showtime gives us the Princess we've always needed

What starts off something dangerously pink and cutesy quickly evolves into a showcase of Peach's abilities showing off the version(s) of the Princess you never knew you needed her to be.

Princess Peach Showtime Key Art. Courtesy Nintendo
Princess Peach Showtime Key Art. Courtesy Nintendo /

Title: Princess Peach Showtime
Release Date: March 22, 2024
Developer: Nintendo
Publishers: Nintendo
Platforms: Nintendo Switch (reviewed on)

I went into Princess Peach Showtmie with sort of mixed expectations — especially as someone who has still been patiently waiting for Nintendo to stop overlooking Daisy. On one hand, I was worried by the look of the game, that it was going to just be an empty and overly cutesy little side game. On the other hand, as a big fan and defender of the old Super Princess Peach game, I was really looking for her to get another chance to shine. The final verdict is kind of a mixed bag.

My worries started pretty early. Peach has gone all the way to a far off island with just a couple of toads to see a famous playhouse. And this is...this is a playhouse. Apparently this five story building has four theaters on each floor that puts on a separate regular show. Shortly after arriving though, a mysterious villain known as "Madame Grape" shows up, boots out all the toads (and Peach's crown for some reason) and traps everyone else, including Peach, in the theater in order to produce what she claims will be the greatest tragedy ever known.

From there, in true Mario game McGuffin fashion, she meets a small floaty star based character that is somehow not related to the stars from the Mario and Luigi games, the Mario RPG games, the Paper Mario games, or Mario Galaxy. The two team up and give Peach some fancy ribbon twirling attacks. And from there I went into the first stage where I was not necessarily attacking villains but twirling a ribbon at them to, apparently, make them feel better about themselves. This had me worried but keep reading.

It felt like this was going to be kinda toddler-level cutesy, especially with the fact that the enemies did not want to come toward me and were just patiently waiting to get slapped. But things quickly got out of hand and the denizens of the theater let Peach know they were done screwing around and showed her to a place where she could channel the power of the protagonist of that particular play (each stage is the set of one of the 20 different plays). So she steps on a platform and suddenly, after a brief almost Sailor Moon-like costume change, becomes...

Princess Peach Showtime Swordfighter
Princess Peach Showtime Swordfighter. Courtesy Nintendo /

A swordfighter brandishing a rapier with a high degree of skill. Suddenly I found myself cutting down thorny vines and sending enemies into the dark backstages from whence they came. I know the trailers had pretty much spoiled this aspect of the game, but witnessing it first hand for the first time made me suddenly go "oh that's cool" out loud.

And that's how it was for pretty much every stage of the game. Every stage has Peach turning into one of 10 protagonist types that grant her different abilities. And the coolest part about that is that each plays completely differently, like you're playing a different type of game. Peach will go from a sneaky "Dashing Thief", to a cake-decorating "Patissiere", before hopping back to life as a lasso wielding "Cowgirl" or the logic puzzle-solving "Detective". And with the exception of one (looking at you "Mermaid" Peach) I actually had a lot of fun with each. I'll have a separate article listing them all but the way they make each one interesting is really entertaining.

Each protagonist's story has three levels each with their own boss and storyline. So when you're Kung-Fu Peach you'll be saving a martial arts master from an evil overlord attempting to take over. And when you're Patissiere Peach you'll be decorating cakes and baking cookies to make up for the goods that have been stolen by Madame Grape's Sour Bunch.

And going back to Patissiere Peach. I groaned audibly when I found out that I was going to go from fighting enemies to cake decorating. It felt like the lamest thing. I'll fully cop to that. But...I enjoyed those stages a lot. The Patissiere stages revolve around two main types of mini-games. You're either having to do a button mashing game where you bake as many cookies as you can in a short time. Or a cake decorating game in which Peach, suspended by a swing, must decorate giant cakes below her. Using frosting that, if you use it the way the picture asks you to, transforms into vivid decorations. I found myself hoping back in to see if I could do better.

So I was pleasantly surprised but also saddened because Peach is such a bad-ass throughout this game and you just know that it's not something Nintendo will ever work into the main canon. It's going to be really hard watching her grab a pair of kunai as Ninja Peach and tear through large enemies and then seeing her going "oh-no" with the back of her hand to her forehead as she gets kidnapped in the next game. Like...I'm going to be real...if there is another Smash Bros game and Peach doesn't have the ability to switch between at least two or three of her forms from this, Nintendo done goofed.

That being said though, there are some definite stinky bits with this game.

The story is paper thin for one. Things are introduced a lot with zero explanation, game elements are thrown in without telling people what to do, and one of the protagonists is...just bad.

The paper-thin story is frustrating because they introduce a whole gang of new villains with Madame Grape and the Sour Bunch. But Madame Grape's motivation beyond "creating a tragedy" is never explained. The Sour Bunch, which are these evil puppets that fit in each of the 10 story types. A martial arts master, an evil chef, a villainous old west outlaw, etc. The villains COULD be cool, but instead, they get almost no story and, instead, don't even get names!

Like, I'm not saying the Broodals from Super Mario Odyssey are good villains but damn at least they had a goal and names.

Also, remember when I said that in the beginning of the game all the toads got whisked away somewhere with Peach's crown? Go ahead, beat the game, it doesn't matter, you'll never see the Toads or crown again. It will never be addressed. We don't know where the Toads went. Rest in peace, you abominations.

And the Mermaid stages. Oh god. In these musical themed stages (it's really weird how society has forgotten that mermaids sing to charm, kill, then eat men) you sing to control fish in the background as you have them do your bidding. That bidding is mostly opening clam shells and moving seaweed. And at the end of each stage you have to play a rhythm game where crystal fish come at you from different directions and you have to hit the buttons at the right time to charge them up and send them at enemies. Except the game never tells you the details so when fish of different shape show up and need different button presses you're probably going to miss on your first play threw. I was never told that long fish need the button held down and that larger fish are going to bounce back multiple times so I tanked it on my first go. And it REALLY doesn't help that Peach has the singing voice of a drag queen in her 50s.

You look past those issues though and, honestly, you got a pretty great game. Took me a little bit longer to get through than Mario Wonder and having 10 different types of unique game play keep every session fresh and interesting. Plus, you get a bevy of new quests upon beating the game that make a second play through of every stage worth it. All in all, it's a really good outing for the oft kidnapped Princess. And, if you're curious, she never EVER mentions Mario once and I love the game for that. Let her be herself without defining her via Mario.

Princess Peach Showtime (Nintendo Switch) Score: 9/10

Princess Peach Showtime is a great action game for people of all skill levels. 10 different costumes provide us with unique playstyles in a game where you never know what's going to happen next. Are you going to be a flying hero punching down enemy ships? Or are you going to be a master thief hacking into security and sneaking through lasers? It's always something different and it's great to see so much potential in an often underused character.

A copy of this game was provided to App Trigger for the purpose of this review. All scores are ranked out of 10, with .5 increments. Click here to learn more about our Review Policy.